I recently attended a movie, and the theatre showed a commercial for a new smartphone. The ad featured the phone’s developers (or at least actors playing developers) talking about one of the phone’s new features. I can’t recall what the feature was, but my friend commented that it was something only a developer would care about.
The smartphone company had an audience of captive viewers and probably spent a fortune on the ad. However, they missed a huge opportunity to engage the packed theatre, as the ad didn’t provide a compelling reason why someone should care about the message or buy the phone.
It’s no wonder I can’t recall the phone’s brand!
Although this example is from the consumer sector, B2B technology companies also make this mistake – not understanding whom they are talking to or what their target audience needs. Instead, they get so wrapped up in the product that they fail to produce customer-focused content.
Stop Selling. Start Helping.
Not understanding what your customers want can lead to another big B2B technology marketing mistake – selling too much. Customers are tired of being sold to all of the time and will tune you out if your content – especially your early-stage content – is too sales-heavy. However, if you provide customers with helpful content, they will be more willing to learn about your product or service later.
Here are seven ways to tell if you’re selling when you should be helping:
- Look at your last white paper. If 80% of the copy talks about your product or service and the rest is the cover page, you’re selling too much.
- Find out if your sales representatives call leads five minutes after they’ve downloaded a white paper. This is a top peeve among technology buyers. Yes, they expect a call, but at least give them enough time to read your content.
- Check out recent posts on your blog. Are they thinly veiled sales pitches for your products? If so, you’re missing opportunities to educate your target audience and position yourself as a trusted advisor. I’ve seen B2B technology blogs where readers get so frustrated with salesy posts that they leave nasty comments. You’re better than that.
- Read your email subject lines. Do they try to sell your products? If so, slow down. The first step is getting someone to open your email, so the subject line should give them a compelling reason to do so. From there, the body of the email should convince them to go to your blog post or landing page. If you try to sell too soon, people won’t open your emails.
- Use the We We Monitor. Enter your copy, and the tool will tell you if you’re talking about yourself too much.
- Update your buyer personas. Both technology and marketing have changed rapidly over the past few years. It’s critical to know how your customers’ needs are changing as well.
- Create content for early-stage leads. Many B2B technology companies focus on creating content – such as data sheets and brochures – for leads who are getting ready to buy. However, don’t forget about early-stage leads who are identifying their problems and will eventually look for a solution. Good content for early-stage leads includes blog posts, articles, white papers, podcasts, videos, case studies and e-books.
Would you like more tips on how to make your content customer-centric?
Join me on Monday, November 11, at 3:00PM for “The Do’s and Don’ts of B2B Technology Content Marketing: How to Use Content to Engage Technology Buyers, Attract More High-Quality Leads and Increase Your Opt-Ins”.
This session is one of 42 virtual sessions in the Online Marketing Institute’s LEARN: Digital Media & Social Media Strategies event. The event will cover the latest trends and best practices in integrated digital marketing, including social media, content and email. Click here to register now.